(Week 5: January 27 – February 2)

Towards the end of this week, I hit a brick wall: the point where the words I was editing in my sci-fi novella ran out, and the dreaded blank page came slamming out of the darkness.

I’ll confess, it took me a bit by surprise. My memory had deceived me and led me to believe I had more words to chew on. I didn’t realise I was taking a running jump into the deep end. Obviously the goal of doing an editing session from chapter one (if you recall last week’s blog post) was to get the momentum going so I could fly right into those new words when the time came.

Unfortunately, that did not happen. I went from morning sessions where I’d edit a 1200 word chunk of work, to mornings where I could barely crack a word count of 300 (new words). Pretty frustrating.

There were a couple of external factors. It was the end of the week, it’s been hot, I’ve not been sleeping well. All of these things make my brain sluggish, and slow down the pumping out of new words. I’m also wondering if the shift from editing to writing is a bit jarring in this case, given that I’m typically used to writing a first draft, and then editing it.

My response to this is the same as always. 300 words is still better than zero words. However, if I find myself just sitting there facing a brick wall then I simply shift aside and work on something else (such as this blog post).


The Elderbeast fancied watching Predator 2 over the weekend. This. Did. Not. Happen. Mostly for reasons of tech fail. As an alternative we ended up watching the Star Trek Discovery ‘Short Treks’ which had recently arrived on Netflix. I loved both the concept and execution of these: brief tales that have no tangible impact on the main narrative, but give you a broader glimpse into the universe.

My favourite was Calypso. This takes place on the USS Discovery itself, but many hundreds of years into the future. It tells a beautiful story in its own right, but in the background there’s the funereal setting of a completely abandoned starship and all the questions that remain unanswered. Where did the crew go? Why has the ship been left to lurk, hidden inside a nebula? What has happened rat humanity in the intervening centuries?

(I was also delighted to see that this one was written by Michael Chabon, who’s not only an awesome author, but is also one of the writers on the new Picard series.)

For the record, the other three shorts are pretty good as well, particularly the Harry Mudd one, which is hilarious. Well worth 15 to 18 minutes of your time per episode.


Northern Lights book cover

I finished Northern Lights this week, which might be my fastest read in a long, long time. Being fifteen years or so since my first read of the book, it’s probably not surprising that there were very few details I remembered. It is, however, interesting to come to the story with a fairly fresh perspective and with the knowledge that there’s a TV adaptation in works (I was frequently trying to envisage how various scenes would work on-screen).

I’m keen to plough straight into the next book in the series, but I’ve decided I’ll space them out and pick up something else from my to-read pile in the interim.